An Introduction to Mailing for Businesses and Organizations

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1 An Introduction to Mailing for Businesses and Organizations May 2008

2

3 Welcome to the United States Postal Service

4 INTRODUCTION RETAIL MAILING SERVICES commercial MAILING SERVICES ONLINE SERVICES ADDITIONAL INFORMATION REFERENCE 2 What Is Business Mail? 4 Methods for Mailing 7 Retail Mailing Services 10 Choosing a Mailing Service 12 Adding Extra Services 14 Choosing a Postage Payment Method 16 Understanding Your Mailpiece Shape 18 Preparing Your Mail 20 Example 22 Retail Postage Prices 25 Commercial Mailing Services 28 Choosing a Mailing Service 34 Choosing a Postage Payment Method 36 Preparation Overview 44 Sorting Overview 48 Mail Entry Overview 52 Example 56 Nonprofit Standard Mail Eligibility 58 Commercial Postage Prices 60 Where to Go From Here 63 Online Services 65 Click-N-Ship 66 NetPost Mailing Online Service 68 NetPost CardStore Service 70 Certified Mail Online Through Mailing Online 71 NetPost Premium Postcard Service 72 NetPost Mover s Postcard Service 76 Getting Help From Mail Service Providers 78 Encouraging Customers to Reply 80 Reviewing Content Eligibility 83 Glossary 90 Index

5 An Introduction to Mailing for Businesses and Organizations Welcome to the United States Postal Service. This guide explains the domestic products and services available for businesses and organizations. 1

6 What Is Business Mail? Business mail includes all the ways mail is used to accomplish the goals of your business or organization. Bills, invoices, catalogs, coupons, solicitations, newsletters, magazines, merchandise, and advertisements in any quantity are just some of the items businesses and organizations mail every day. INTRODUCTION What Can Business Mail Help You Do? Whether you are starting a new organization or maintaining an established company, mail is an important tool for reaching your customers, members, or employees. Business mail can help you: Acquire Attract new customers and expand membership. Retain and Grow Strengthen relationships with customers and members. Sustain long-term relationships. Expand the scope of activities through new products and services. Fulfill Fulfill orders and complete transactions. Strengthen confidence in your organization through ongoing communication. What Are the Benefits of Business Mail? Targeted You can choose which demographics will receive your mailing, so you can be certain that your message will arrive at the home or business of someone who is likely to be interested. Flexible With mail, you can send a million postcards, a single parcel, or anything in between. You can take advantage of a variety of valuable and cost-effective mailing services to fit your needs and your budget. Measurable Since you direct your mailings, you know when your message or product will be received and can measure your return on investment. Universal The Postal Service can reach every business and household in the country six days a week. You benefit from the established relationship between the Postal Service and your customers. 2

7 Postcards Often the least expensive way to send advertising, invitations, and business reply mail. LETTERS Large postcards, envelopes, and folded pieces, such as announcements, bills, and newsletters. flats Large envelopes and flat rectangular mailpieces, such as magazines, newspapers, catalogs, circulars, or important documents that should not be folded. You can find more information about preparing an advertising mail campaign, obtaining an address list, and customer success stories at com/directmail. parcels Items that are not flats, letters, or postcards, such as thick envelopes, thick or rigid books, small and large boxes, and poster tubes. As a nonprofit organization, your goals may be different from those of for-profit businesses, but your mailing benefits and processes are the same. Unlike for-profit businesses, however, you may qualify for special prices. For more information, see page 56. 3

8 Methods for Mailing Depending on your needs and resources, there are three different approaches to using mail for your business. RETAIL MAILING SERVICES commercial MAILING SERVICES ONLINE MAILING SERVICES Page 6 Page 24 Page 62 INTRODUCTION With retail mailing services, you can easily send any quantity of mail at full postage prices without special preparation. Address, add postage, and send it s fast and easy. Easy mail preparation Convenient drop-off options Expedited services available With commercial or bulk mailing services, you can receive significant postage discounts for larger mailings by preparing and sorting your mail according to Postal Service guidelines and depositing it at designated locations. Reduced postage costs Many options available Promote your business and create a professional image From desktop to doorstep, online mailing services let you use your computer to upload or create postcards, letters, and newsletters. Your mailpieces are printed, prepared, and delivered directly to your customers. No permit or mailing fees Discounted postage prices available Mail anytime from your desk Online mailing services also allows you to print shipping labels and pay for postage using Click-N-Ship at 4

9 TASKS REQUIRED FOR EACH METHOD OF MAILING Retail Services Discount Services Online Services Who are you trying to reach? Establish an address list What are you mailing? Design your mailpiece (size, shape, weight, and content) How will you plan and complete your mailing? Meet minimum volume requirements Choose a mailing service Choose a postage payment method Construct your mailpiece Sort your mail Pay an annual mailing fee Fill out a postage statement Deposit your mail 5

10 Headline Subhead RETAIL MAILING SERVICES 7 Retail Mailing Services 10 Choosing a Mailing Service 12 Adding Extra Services 14 Choosing a Postage Payment Method 16 Understanding Your Mailpiece Shape 18 Preparing Your Mail 20 Example 22 Retail Postage Prices Tips come here if they are present. 6

11 Retail Mailing Services Retail mailing services provide a fast and easy way to mail. When you use First-Class Mail postage on a letter or a bill, you are taking advantage of retail prices. You can send any number of mailpieces using retail services. Even when you have a large quantity of mail, using a retail mailing service may be your best option for ease and convenience. ADVANTAGES Mail any quantity. Deposit your mail at any Post Office, collection box, or your business mailbox. Your letter carrier can also collect your mail. It s the same kind of service you use for your personal mailing needs. You do not have to apply for a permit or pay an annual mailing fee to take advantage of retail prices. COST The postage depends on the service you select and the characteristics of your mailpiece. Some services are based on weight; others are based on weight and distance; and others are based on weight, distance, content, and shape. 7

12 Retail Mailing Services Retail mailing services let you prepare and send mail quickly and easily. RETAIL MAILING SERVICES 8

13 Planning a Retail Mailing To send a successful mailing, carefully consider the following steps. 1 CHOOSING A MAILING SERVICE The five retail services can accommodate any mailing situation ADDING EXTRA SERVICES Extra services can provide additional protection and delivery information. CHOOSING A POSTAGE PAYMENT METHOD Postage for retail services can be paid in four ways. PREPARING AND ADDRESSING YOUR MAIL Careful preparation of your mailpiece, including a complete address, helps to ensure accurate and timely delivery. DEPOSITING YOUR MAIL You can deposit most stamped or metered mail at any Post Office, in any blue USPS collection box, or give it to your letter carrier. 9

14 Choosing a Mailing Service The five retail mailing services can accommodate any mailing situation. S H A P E CONTENT SPEED COST SERVICE 70 lbs or less Any mailable item* 1 2 days money-back guarantee $$$ based on weight, and distance Express Mail 70 lbs or less Any mailable item* 2 3 days (average) $$ based on weight, size and distance if over 1 lb Priority Mail RETAIL MAILING SERVICES 13 oz or less 70 lbs or less Any mailable item* Merchandise and gifts 1 3 days $$ based on weight 2 9 days** $ based on weight, size, and distance Media 2 9 days** $ based on weight First-Class Mail Parcel Post Media Mail 70 lbs or less * Certain hazardous materials are excluded. See page 81 for more detailed content restrictions for each service. ** Except Alaska and Hawaii. 10

15 Express Mail This money-back guaranteed overnight to two-day service includes tracking, proof of delivery, and insurance up to $100. Additional insurance up to $5,000 may be purchased for merchandise. Sunday and holiday delivery is available to many destinations for an additional $ Express Mail envelopes and boxes are available at many Post Offices at no charge and may be ordered from Priority Mail This service is typically used to send documents, gifts, and merchandise. Priority Mail envelopes and boxes are available at many Post Offices at no charge and may be ordered from First-Class Mail This service (or Express Mail or Priority Mail) is required for personal correspondence, handwritten or typewritten letters, and bills or statements of account. It also may be used for most mailable items, including advertisements and lightweight merchandise. Parcel Post Items such as gifts and merchandise can be sent using Parcel Post. Media Mail Books of eight or more printed pages with only incidental blank spaces and no advertising except for incidental announcements of books, 16-millimeter or narrower width films in positive print for viewing (excluding films sent to or from commercial theaters), catalogs of such film of 24 pages or more, printed music (bound or in sheet form), printed objective test materials and accessories, sound recordings, video recordings, play scripts and manuscripts, printed educational reference charts, loose-leaf pages and their binders consisting of medical information, and computer-readable media containing prerecorded information up to 70 pounds can be sent as Media Mail. Express Mail and Priority Mail flat-rate envelopes let you send your item for a low price, regardless of weight. The distinctive packaging has impact. Priority Mail flat-rate boxes are available, regardless of the actual weight of the piece at the following prices: Regular Flat-Rate Boxes Domestic or APO/ FPO addresses: $9.80 Large Flat-Rate APO/FPO destination addresses: $10.95 Domestic address: $12.95 You can mail letters, flats, and parcels from the United States to other countries. As with domestic mail, you can choose the best service based on speed, cost, and extra services. To learn more about options for international mail and to calculate postage, visit international or call ASK USPS. Your Post Office can also help you send mail internationally. 11

16 Adding Extra Services Extra services can provide additional protection and delivery information. RETAIL MAILING SERVICES Certificate of Mailing Provides evidence of mailing. Incentives are available for three or more pieces. $1.10 Certified Mail Provides proof of mailing at time of mailing and the date and time of delivery or attempted delivery. $2.70 Collect on Delivery (COD) Allows the Postal Service to collect the postage and price of an item from the recipient and send to the mailer. The Postal Service maintains the delivery record. The goods must be ordered by the addressee. Fee starts at $5.25 Delivery Confirmation Provides the date and time of delivery or attempted delivery. $0.65-$0.75 Free when you print Priority Mail postage from Insured Mail Provides coverage against loss or damage up to $5,000. Fee based on value of item. Starts at $1.70 Proof of mailing is provided for items that are insured for more than $ Registered Mail Provides maximum security. Includes proof of mailing at time of mailing and the date and time of delivery or attempted delivery. It is the most secure service the Postal Service offers. It incorporates a system of receipts to monitor the movement of the mail from the point of acceptance to delivery. Insurance can be added up to $25,000. Fee based on value of item. Starts at $10.00 Restricted Delivery Confirms that only a specified person (or authorized agent) will receive a piece of mail. This service costs $4.30 and is available only if you also purchase Certified Mail, Insured Mail (more than $200.00), Registered Mail, or COD. Return Receipt Provides a postcard or electronic record with the date of delivery and recipient signature. Must be combined with another extra service. Return Receipt for Merchandise service also is available. $2.20 extra at time of mailing (received by mail). $1.00 extra at time of mailing (received electronically). $4.35 when requested after mailing. Special Handling Provides preferential handling for fragile or perishable items. It must be used when mailing items such as honeybees and day-old poultry sent as Parcel Post. $7.10- $ 9.90 Signature Confirmation Provides the date and time of delivery or attempted delivery and the name of the person who signed for the item. You can request a hard copy of the signature. $2.20 $1.80 when you print Priority Mail postage from Delivery information is available: by hard copy at by calling Most indemnity claims for insured, COD, Registered Mail, or Express Mail can be filed at any Post Office. For more information, go to your local Post Office or visit www. usps.com. Extra services available for some international mail: Certificate of Mailing Insurance Registered Mail Restricted Delivery Return Receipt You can use an endorsement, such as Return Service Requested, to have a mailpiece returned if it cannot be delivered. See page 41 for more information. 12

17 EXTRA SERVICES AVAILABLE FOR EACH MAILING SERVICE PROOF of mailing PROTECTION in transit CONFIRMATION of delivery Express Mail Receipt provided at time of mailing Insurance ($100 coverage already included, more can be added) Date and time of delivery provided, and signature of recipient available upon request Priority Mail Certificate of Mailing Insured Mail Registered Mail Certified Mail Delivery Confirmation Signature Confirmation Registered Mail First-Class Mail Certificate of Mailing Insured Mail Registered Mail Certified Mail Delivery Confirmation* Signature Confirmation* Registered Mail Parcel Post Media Mail Certificate of Mailing Insured Mail Delivery Confirmation* Signature Confirmation* * for parcels only Most extra services provide proof of mailing. Forms and labels for extra services are available in your Post Office lobby or from your rural letter carrier. 13

18 Choosing a Postage Payment Method You can choose from several forms of postage that make it easy to mail right from your office. RETAIL MAILING SERVICES.00 METERed POSTAGE You can use a meter to affix exact postage to your mailpieces. The meter stamp shows the amount of postage paid. Using a postage meter is fast, efficient, secure, and enhances the professional look of your mailpieces. How Do I Get a Postage Meter? You lease a meter from an authorized provider. To find out more about postage meters, including authorized meter providers, visit postagesolutions. How Do I Apply for a Meter License? You file an application for a meter license through your meter provider. There is no application fee. How Do I Pay for Postage? All postage meters are remotely reset by your meter provider you do not need to go to the Post Office. Your meter provider will give you information about the payment options currently authorized by the Postal Service. $0.00 MONTH DAY YEAR US POSTAGE FIRST-CLASS MAIL CITY STATE ZIP CODE RW0012B PC POSTAGE TECHNOLOGY You can use PC Postage technology to purchase and print postage from your computer at any time. PC Postage is easy to use for all mailing needs, including labels for packages, printing the exact postage needed, and for keeping track of mailing expenses. How Do I Get It? PC Postage software and services are leased from authorized providers. To find out more and to see a list of authorized providers, visit postagesolutions. To use PC Postage technology you must obtain a license. How Do I Apply for a License? PC Postage providers prompt you through the application process online. There is no application fee. How Do I Pay for Postage? Pay for postage through your PC Postage provider. Authorized Meter providers: FRANCOTYP-POSTALIA INC. 140 N MITCHELL CT STE 200 ADDISION IL HASLER Inc. 19 FOREST PKY SHELTON CT NEOPOST INC HUNTWOOD AVE HAYWARD CA PITNEY BOWES INC. 1 ELMCROFT RD STAMFORD CT Data-Pac Mailing Systems Corp Bay Rd Webster NY Authorized PC Postage providers: Endicia.com (PSI SYSTEMS INC.) 247 HIGH ST PALO ALTO CA x140 PITNEY BOWES INC. 1 ELMCROFT RD STAMFORD CT STAMPS.COM CORAL TREE PLACE LOS ANGELES, CA For additional information, see Quick Service Guide 604c at pe.usps.com, or visit com/postagesolutions. 14

19 FIRST-CLASS MAIL U.S. POSTAGE PAID NEW YORK NY PERMIT NO. 1 PERMIT IMPRINT This postage payment method involves the use of a printed or hand-stamped permit imprint. You must have a mailing of at least 200 pieces or 50 pounds to be eligible for this method. Mailings must be prepared in specified containers and deposited at the postal facility where your mail will be verified. All pieces in your mailing must weigh the same amount unless authorized by the Postal Service. How Do I Apply? You must file an application (Form 3615) for a permit and pay a $180 one-time application fee at the Post Office where your mailings will be deposited and where your postage will be paid. Bring two forms of identification when you apply. You pay the application fee at each postal facility where you deposit your mail. You must use your permit imprint at least once every 24 months or you will have to apply again and pay a new application fee. How Do I Pay for Postage? Postage is paid from an account you set up at the Post Office where you enter your mail. STAMPS Stamps are available in various denominations and designs. There is no need to obtain a permit or pay fees, no matter how many stamped pieces you send. The Forever Stamp will equal the First- Class Mail single-piece 1-ounce letter price at anytime in the future, without the addition of extra postage. Where Can I Get Stamps? Post Offices ATMs Select grocery and retail stores Select banks By phone at STAMP 24 By mail with Form 3227 Online at shop.usps.com To find a location near you, visit What Are My Payment Options? Your Post Office accepts cash, checks, major credit cards, and debit cards. If you pay by check, you must show a photo ID. You can pay for your online and phone stamp orders with a major credit card. You can pay for your stamp orders by mail with a check or money order. You can use any of these postage payment methods for international mail. For Priority Mail and Express Mail, use Click-N-Ship to pay for postage and print labels at com/clicknship. Using Click-N-Ship adds Delivery Confirmation to Priority Mail at no additional charge. See page 65 for more information. 15

20 Understanding Your Mailpiece Shape The Postal Service classifies the shape of your mailpiece by its dimensions. Postcards Dimensions Letters Dimensions RETAIL MAILING SERVICES maximum thickness inch minimum length 5 inches height 3-1/2 inches thickness inch maximum 6 inches 4-1/4 inches inch maximum thickness 1/4 inch minimum length 5 inches height 3-1/2 inches thickness inch weight maximum 11-1/2 inches 6-1/8 inches 1/4 inch 3.5 ounces Diagrams not to scale. For letters and postcards, length is the dimension parallel to the address. 16

21 Lg. Envelopes (Flats) Dimensions Parcels Dimensions maximum thickness 3/4 inch length the longest side of the parcel girth measurement around the thickest part of the parcel minimum* 11-1/2 inches 6-1/8 inches 1/4 inch maximum 15 inches 12 inches 3/4 inch length height thickness length + girth length + girth cannot exceed 108 inches (Parcel Post cannot exceed 130 inches) * Flats exceed at least one of these dimensions. Unusual Shapes and Sizes Sometimes a mailpiece requires additional postage because it is a certain shape or size that is difficult to process on mail sorting machines. To make sure you re paying the correct postage, visit (click on Calculate Postage ) or call ASK USPS. The following are examples of mail that will require extra postage: First-Class Mail Letters Square envelopes Envelopes addressed parallel to the shorter edge Letters over 3.5 ounces Nonmachinable letters First-Class Mail Large Envelopes (Flats) Rigid Not uniformly thick Nonrectangular Priority Mail Balloon Price Priority Mail parcels addressed for delivery to local zones and to zones 1 4, that weigh less than 20 pounds but measure more than 84 inches (but not more than 108 inches) in combined length and girth, are charged the applicable price for a 20 pound parcel (balloon price). Priority Mail Dimensional Weight Price The price for low density Priority Mail parcels addressed for delivery to zones 5-8, and exceeding 1 cubic foot, is based on the actual weight or the dimensional weight, whichever is greater. Parcel Post Nonmachinable Surcharge Parcels less than 6 inches long, or 1/4 inch thick, or 3 inches high Parcels weighing more than 35 pounds Parcels weighing less than 6 ounces Books or printed material weighing more than 25 pounds Tubes and rolls Parcel Post Balloon Price Parcels that weigh less than 20 pounds and measure more than 84 inches (but not more than 108 inches) in combined length and girth, are charged the applicable price for a 20 pound parcel (balloon price). 17

22 Preparing Your Mail Careful preparation of your mailpiece helps to ensure accurate and safe delivery. ENVELOPES AND BOXES ADDRESSING RETAIL MAILING SERVICES Letters, Greeting Cards, and Other Documents These can be sent in standard white, manila, or recycled paper envelopes. Items needing extra protection can be sent in bubble-lined, padded paper, or waterproof envelopes. Boxes Sturdy paperboard boxes may be used for weights up to 10 pounds. Heavier parcels require a sturdy grade corrugated fiberboard. If you are reusing a box, all previous labels and markings must be totally removed or obliterated with a heavy black marker. Cushioning Boxes should allow enough room for cushioning materials around the contents. You can use newspaper, foam peanuts, or shredded paper for cushioning. For more fragile items, use foamed plastic or padding, placing the cushioning inside hollow items as well. Sealing Make sure to tape the opening of your box and reinforce all seams with 2-inch wide tape. Use clear or brown packaging tape, reinforced packing tape, or paper tape. Do not use cord, string, twine, masking tape or cellophane tape. Address Quality Quality addressing is the key to achieving accurate and speedy delivery. Placement Print the delivery and return addresses on the same side of your envelope, card, or parcel. The addresses or address labels should be written or placed parallel to the longest side. Return Address A return address helps return your mailpiece to you if it is undeliverable. A return address is required on most mail. ZIP Codes Using the correct ZIP Code ensures efficient and accurate processing and delivery. Marking If you deposit your mail in a mailbox or a collection box, you must write in the postage area of your mailpiece the name of the service you are using, such as Priority Mail, Parcel Post, or Media Mail. If you go to your Post Office, the clerk will make service markings on your mailpiece for you. Military Mail Overseas military addresses must show full name, including first name and middle name or initial, and unit number. The delivery line (the second line from the bottom in the address) must show the ship name, unit number, CMR or PSC number, and box number if assigned. The last line must contain the APO and FPO designation and the appropriate two-letter state abbreviation (AA, AE, or AP), followed by the ZIP+4 or 5-digit ZIP Code. AA, AE, and AP are used for addresses with the 3-digit ZIP Code prefixes 340, , and , respectively. In addition, mail sent to dependents residing in overseas areas must be addressed in care of the sponsor. Address Lists Address or mailing lists can be purchased from a mail service provider if you don t maintain your own. Lists should be checked and certified for address quality to ensure the highest rate of successful delivery. For more information, see page

23 ENVELOPES AND BOXES Delivery Address Place the delivery address parallel to the longest side of your mailpiece. City, State, and ZIP Code To find the correct spelling of a city name and state abbreviation or to find a ZIP Code, visit or call ASK USPS. Using the correct ZIP Code helps direct your mail more efficiently and accurately. Return Address Place the return address in the upper left corner on the same side as the delivery address. Postage Use stamps, a postage meter, or a PC Postage system to affix the correct amount. You can calculate postage online at Extra Services Place labels for extra services above the delivery address and to the right of the return address, or to the left of the delivery address. For Express Mail, you must use the free address labels provided by the Postal Service. 19

24 Example Retail mailing services can meet your business mailing needs. Darren Bailey, the owner of an online rare and used book business in Pittsburgh, has decided that the speed and ease of retail services provide the best solution for his mailing needs. He usually uses Priority Mail to send merchandise. In addition, Darren insures his mail and adds Signature Confirmation, which lets him know who received the merchandise, to protect both his business and his customers. Choosing a Service A large portion of Darren s mailing is comic books, which can be mailed as flats, but he also sells bound books, some of which cannot be mailed as flats because of their size and shape. He has the option of sending the books by Express Mail, Priority Mail, First-Class Mail (13 ounces or less), Parcel Post, or Media Mail. RETAIL MAILING SERVICES Things to consider Speed Cost Shape and weight of mailpiece Where the mailpiece is being sent Extra services such as Signature Confirmation and insurance 20

25 SCENARIO 1 SCENARIO 2 SCENARIO 3 He needs a 3-pound rare book that was ordered two days before the holidays to arrive in Iowa on time. Darren also decides to add extra insurance. He needs a 3-pound book to arrive in California by the end of the week so his customer can write a review for a publication. He has a box of vintage comic books without advertising, going out to a regular customer. He wants to add insurance and get confirmation that they were received by the addressee. Book to Iowa: * 3 lbs * make sure that it arrives before the holiday! * rare book add insurance! Book to California: * 3 lbs * should be there by the end of the week! Vintage comic books to New York: * 3 lbs * should be boxed * make sure they arrive! * add insurance! Express Mail Priority Mail Media Mail Speed Automatic insurance up to $100 Free tracking To Iowa Postage $ (to zone 8) Insurance up to $100 $ 0 Tracking $ 0 Subtotal $ Additional Insurance $ 2.10 (for $500 value) Total Cost $ Speed Cost (less expensive than Express Mail) Extra Service can be added to confirm delivery To California Regular Flat-Rate Box $ 9.80 Delivery Confirmation $ 0.65 Total Cost $10.45 Cost (less expensive than other mailing services) Extra Service can be added to confirm delivery Insurance can be added To New York Postage $ 2.93 Signature Confirmation $ 2.20 Insurance (for $100 value) $ 2.15 Total Cost $ 7.28 For convenience, Darren leased a postage meter so he can purchase postage by phone and apply the exact amount of postage he needs. Visit pe.usps.com for a Price List (Notice 123), which lists all postal prices and fees, or use the Domestic Price Calculator to automatically calculate postage for the shape, weight, and destination of your mail. 21

26 Retail Postage Prices For complete domestic and international prices, visit or call ASK USPS. Simplified Price Chart Effective May 12, 2008 Express Mail First-Class Mail Letters First-Class Mail RETAIL MAILING SERVICES Flat-rate envelope...$16.50 Cost based on weight and distance. For Sunday and holiday delivery, add $ Other prices are available up to 70 pounds. Priority Mail Flat-rate envelope... $4.80 Regular Flat-Rate Boxes Domestic or APO/FPO addresses... $9.80 Large Flat-Rate Box APO/FPO destination addresses... $10.95 Domestic address... $12.95 Other prices are available up to 70 pounds and are based on weight and distance. Postcard... $ oz... $ oz... $ oz... $ oz... $0.93 For heavier weights, use First-Class Mail large envelopes. Letters that meet one or more of the nonmachinable characteristics in DMM are subject to the $0.20 nonmachinable surcharge. L a r g e E n v e l o p e s (Flats) 1 oz... $ oz...$ oz... $ oz... $ oz... $ oz...$ oz...$ oz... $ oz...$ oz... $ oz... $ oz... $ oz... $2.87 If more than 13 ounces, see Priority Mail One ounce is approximately equal to three sheets of paper plus a standard envelope. 22

27 First-Class Mail Parcels 1 oz... $ oz... $ oz... $ oz... $ oz... $ oz... $ oz... $ oz... $ oz... $ oz... $ oz... $ oz... $ oz... $3.21 If more than 13 ounces, see Priority Mail Parcel Post Prices are based on weight, shape, and distance. Other prices are available up to 70 pounds. Media Mail 1 lb... $ lbs... $ lbs... $ lbs...$ lbs...$3.63 Other prices are available up to 70 pounds. Sending Mail You can send mail by: dropping it into a blue USPS collection box. giving it to your letter carrier. taking it to a Post Office. Domestic and international mailpieces that weigh 13 ounces or less, with postage stamps affixed, can be dropped in a blue collection box, or handed to your letter carrier. Mailpieces that weigh more than 13 ounces, with postage stamps affixed, must be handed to a Retail associate at your local Post Office. Pickup On Demand Service Call or visit to have your Express Mail, Priority Mail, and Parcel Post items picked up. This service is not available in every area. $14.75 Carrier Pickup Customers may pre-schedule a pickup of their Express Mail, Priority Mail, or International Packages to be collected during a regular delivery stop or a scheduled stop at no additional charge. 23

28 COMMERCIAL MAILING SERVICES 25 Commercial Mailing Services 28 Choosing a Mailing Service 34 Choosing a Postage Payment Method 36 Preparation Overview 44 Sorting Overview 48 Mail Entry Overview 52 Example 56 Nonprofit Standard Mail Eligibility 58 Commercial Postage Prices 60 Where to Go From Here 24

29 Commercial Mailing Services Commercial mail, or bulk mail, is your best option if you mail in volume. In order to claim these lower prices, you must have a minimum quantity and do some additional work to make your mail easier for the Postal Service to handle. ADVANTAGES A proven, cost-effective business tool Offers a lower price on postage for the work you perform Can accommodate a variety of business needs Gives your business or organization a professional image with customers Can promote your business or organization name through use of permit imprint, postage meter, or PC Postage technology HOW DOES IT WORK? Your incentive depends on the mailing service you choose and the work you do. For example, if you mail 1,000 letter-sized flyers to everyone in your ZIP Code advertising your business's sale, it would cost $0.42 per piece for retail First-Class Mail postage, or $ If you mail 1,000 flyers using Standard Mail to everyone in your ZIP Code by adding a barcode, sorting them by carrier route, and depositing them at the Post Office designated by your business mail entry unit, you might pay as little as $0.137 per piece, or $ COST The postage depends on the mailing service you choose and the characteristics of your mailpiece. For any commercial mailing, you must do some of the work the Postal Service would otherwise do. The work you do, such as preparing, sorting, and entering your mailing, can lower your postage costs. You must pay an annual mailing fee at each facility where you enter mail. Different mailing services may require separate fees. For example, First-Class Mail, Standard Mail, and Package Services require separate $ annual presort mailing fees. Other optional aspects of a commercial mailing, such as using permit imprints, business reply mail, or mailing endorsements, may require additional fees. 25

30 Commercial Mailing Services Understanding the effort involved with a discount mailing can help decide whether it is right for your business or organization. Choosing between commercial Mailing Services and Retail Mailing Services Even if your mailing has the required number of mailpieces to qualify for a discount price, you still have to perform some of the work the Postal Service would normally do to receive the discount. When deciding whether to undertake a commercial mailing, you should consider: Your technology Your technology and equipment, such as computers and software, will influence the discount services you can use and the time it will take you to complete the work. COMMERCIAL MAILING SERVICES Your budget The amount of money you spend on a mailing is more than just the cost of postage. You should also consider the cost of designing and printing your mailpieces and obtaining a mailing list. If you can t dedicate the technology or time to a commercial mailing, consider using a mail service provider or retail mailing services, which lets you quickly prepare and send your mailing. As your business grows, your resources may allow you to take advantage of additional discounts. Mail Service Providers You can get help with commercial mailings from a business that specializes in designing, preparing, and sorting mail. These businesses, typically called mail service providers (see page 76), can help you with a single part of a discount mailing, or you can hire them to handle the entire mailing, from creation to mail entry. Mail service providers can help you: purchase or rent an address list. manage your address database. design and print your mailpieces. sort your mailpieces. reduce your postage. enter your mail into the mailstream. Nonprofit Standard Mail prices are available for authorized nonprofit organizations. You must first apply for authorization to mail at nonprofit prices at your local Post Office and adhere to the content restrictions associated with Nonprofit Standard Mail. See page 56 for more information. Discounts are available for larger volumes of international mail. Service options include International Priority Airmail, and International Surface Air Lift. For prices and standards, visit international. 26

31 Planning a COMMERCIAL Mailing Several steps are involved in the discount mailing process. A successful commercial mailing requires careful consideration of each step CHOOSING A MAILING SERVICE Which mailing service you choose depends on the shape, weight, and content of your mail, along with speed of delivery. CHOOSING A POSTAGE PAYMENT METHOD The Postal Service offers four ways for you to pay for and apply postage to your mailpieces. PREPARING YOUR MAIL Machinable, nonmachinable, and automation are the three ways the Postal Service classifies how mailpieces are prepared. These classifications are based on the ability of your mailpiece to be processed on Postal Service equipment. SORTING YOUR MAIL Sort your mail according to Postal Service standards. ENTERING YOUR MAIL The minimum requirement is to enter your mail at the business mail entry unit (BMEU) or Post Office where you hold a mailing permit. You can receive additional discounts by transporting your mail closer to where it will be delivered. This section explains the steps for completing a commercial mailing. First choose a mailing service, then a postage payment method. After you make these choices, prepare your mailpieces, then sort them by Postal Service standards, and enter your mailing at a postal facility. For each step, you will need to complete the minimum level of work required by the Postal Service. You may also choose to complete higher levels of work to receive greater postage discounts. In some cases, the characteristics of your mailpieces will determine which prices and discounts are available to you. 27

32 Choosing a Mailing Service The shape and content of your mail can determine which mailing services are available to you. Postcards Dimensions Letters Dimensions DISCOUNT MAILING SERVICES maximum thickness inch minimum length 5 inches height 3-1/2 inches thickness inch maximum 6 inches 4-1/4 inches inch maximum thickness 1/4 inch minimum length 5 inches height 3-1/2 inches thickness inch maximum 11-1/2 inches 6-1/8 inches 1/4 inch For letters and postcards, length is the dimension parallel to the address. First-Class Mail Postcards and letters may be sent using First-Class Mail. This service is required for personal correspondence, handwritten or typewritten material, and bills or statements of account. It may also be used for any mailable item including advertisements and lightweight merchandise. This service is typically the fastest service offered within discount mail. Standard Mail Letters containing mailable items not required to be sent as First-Class Mail may be sent as Standard Mail. Standard Mail is typically used for advertisements and flyers. There are no postcard prices for Standard Mail, but postcards can be mailed at the letter prices. Additional content restrictions must be met for authorized nonprofit mailers. Periodicals This service requires prior authorization by the Postal Service. Typical Periodicals are newspapers, magazines, and newsletters. 28

33 Content The following items must be mailed as First-Class Mail: bills and checks statements of account handwritten materials typewritten materials personal information Qualifiers 3.5 ounces or less 500 or more pieces per mailing Speed days Postage $$ First-Class Mail Generally, Standard Mail may be mailed at First-Class Mail prices. Content Materials such as: circulars advertisements solicitations for donation newsletters small merchandise printed matter not required to be mailed as First-Class Mail or Periodicals Qualifiers less than 16 ounces 200 or more pieces or 50 pounds or more per mailing Speed days 2 Postage $ Standard Mail Content Authorized publications such as: newspapers newsletters magazines Qualifiers 1 or more pieces per mailing Speed days 2 Postage $ Periodicals See pages 80 and 81 for more detailed content restrictions. 1 Estimated time of delivery. 2 Except Alaska and Hawaii. See pages 58 and 59 for more detailed price information. 29

34 DISCOUNT MAILING SERVICES Flats Dimensions maximum thickness 3/4 inch length height thickness minimum* 11-1/2 inches 6-1/8 inches 1/4 inch * Flats exceed at least one of these dimensions. For flats, length is the longest dimension. maximum 15 inches 12 inches 3/4 inch Flats must be: Flexible Rectangular, with four square corners, or with finished corners that do not exceed a radius of inch (1/8 inch). Uniformly thick First-Class Mail Flats may be sent using First-Class Mail. This service is required for personal correspondence, handwritten or typewritten material, and bills or statements of account. It may also be used for any mailable item, including advertisements and lightweight merchandise. This service is typically the fastest service offered within discount mail. Standard Mail Flats containing mailable items not required to be sent as First-Class Mail may be sent as Standard Mail. Standard Mail is typically used for advertisements, flyers, and catalogs. Additional content restrictions must be met for authorized nonprofit mailers. Periodicals This service requires prior authorization by the Postal Service. Typical Periodicals are newspapers, magazines, and newsletters. Bound Printed Matter Flats can be sent using Bound Printed Matter. Contents are limited to permanently bound printed sheets of directory, advertising, or editorial matter, such as catalogs or phone books. Media Mail Small and large flats can be sent using Media Mail. Contents are limited to books, manuscripts, sound recordings, recorded videotapes, and computer-readable media (not blank). Informally called Book Rate, Media Mail cannot contain advertising, except books can contain incidental announcements of other books. See pages 80 and 81 for more detailed content restrictions. 30

35 Content The following materials must be mailed as First-Class Mail: bills and checks statements of account handwritten materials typewritten materials personal correspondence Qualifiers 13 ounces or less 500 or more pieces per mailing Speed days Postage $$* First-Class Mail Generally, Standard Mail can be mailed at First-Class Mail prices. Content Materials such as: circulars advertisements solicitations for donation newsletters merchandise printed matter not required to be mailed as First-Class Mail or Periodicals Qualifiers less than 16 ounces 200 or more pieces or 50 pounds or more per mailing Speed 1 Postage 2 9 days 2 $* Standard Mail Content Authorized publications such as: newspapers newsletters magazines Qualifiers 1 or more pieces per mailing Speed 1 Postage 1 7 days 2 $ Periodicals Content Permanently bound printed materials such as: advertising promotional material directory material editorial material Qualifiers 15 pounds or less 300 or more pieces per mailing Speed 1 Postage 2 9 days 2 $ Bound Printed Matter Content Materials such as: books printed music videotapes (recorded) CD-ROMs (recorded) computer-readable media (recorded) printed educational charts Qualifiers 300 or more pieces per mailing Speed 2 9 days 2 Postage $ Media Mail 1 Estimated time of delivery. 2 Except Alaska and Hawaii. * See pages 58 and 59 for more detailed price information. 31

36 COMMERCIAL MAILING SERVICES Parcels Dimensions length the longest side of the parcel girth measurement around the thickest part of the parcel length + girth length + girth cannot exceed 108 inches (Parcel Select cannot exceed 130 inches) Unusual Shapes and Sizes Sometimes a mailpiece requires additional postage because it is a certain shape, weight or size that is difficult to process on mail sorting machines. To make sure you re paying the correct postage, visit (click on Calculate Postage ) or call ASK USPS. The following are examples of parcel-size mail that will require extra postage: Parcel Select nonmachinable surcharge: Length more than 34 inches or Height more than 17 inches or Width more than 17 inches or Weight more than 35 pounds (25 pounds for books and other printed matter) or Meets any Parcel Select nonmachinable criteria. Parcel Select Balloon Price Parcels that weight less than 20 pounds but measure more than 84 inches (but not more than 108 inches) in combined length and girth, are charged the applicable price for a 20 pound parcel (balloon price). First-Class Mail Small parcels may be sent using First-Class Mail. This service is required for personal correspondence, handwritten or typewritten material, and bills or statements of account. It may also be used for any mailable item, including advertisements and lightweight merchandise. Standard Mail Small parcels containing mailable items not required to be sent as First-Class Mail may be sent as Standard Mail. Standard Mail is typically used for lightweight merchandise. Additional content restrictions must be met for authorized nonprofit mailers. Parcel Select Matter not mailed as Package Services (Parcel Post, Bound Printed Matter, Media, or Library Mail). Generally used for shipping merchandise. Bound Printed Matter Small and large parcels can be sent using Bound Printed Matter. Contents are limited to permanently bound sheets of directory, advertising, or editorial matter, such as catalogs or phone books. Media Mail Small and large parcels can be sent using Media Mail. Contents are limited to books, manuscripts, sound recordings, recorded videotapes, and computer-readable media (not blank). Informally called Book Rate, Media Mail cannot contain advertising, except books can contain incidental announcements of other books. See pages 80 and 81 for more detailed content restrictions. 32

37 Content The following materials must be mailed as First-Class Mail: bills and checks statements of account handwritten materials typewritten materials personal correspondence Qualifiers 13 ounces or less 500 or more pieces per mailing Speed days Postage $$ First-Class Mail Generally, Standard Mail can be mailed at First-Class mail prices. Content Materials such as: advertisements solicitations for donation merchandise printed matter not required to be mailed as First-Class Mail or Periodicals. Qualifiers less than 16 ounces 200 or more pieces or 50 pounds or more per mailing Speed 1 Postage 2 9 days 2 $ Standard Mail Content Any mailable matter that is not required to be sent as First-Class Mail or Periodicals. Qualifiers 70 pounds or less maximum length + girth is 130 inches 50 or more pieces per mailing Speed 1 Postage 2 9 days 2 $ Parcel Select Content Any permanently bound printed materials such as: advertising promotional material directory material editorial material Qualifiers 15 pounds or less 300 or more pieces per mailing (50 or more pieces for barcode discount) Speed 1 Postage 2 9 days 2 $ Bound Printed Matter Content Materials such as: books printed music videotapes (recorded) CD-ROMs (recorded) computer-readable media (recorded) printed educational charts Qualifiers 70 pounds or less 300 or more pieces per mailing (50 or more pieces for barcode discount) Speed 1 Postage 2 9 days 2 $ Media Mail 1 Estimated time of delivery. 2 Except Alaska and Hawaii. 33

38 Choosing a Postage Payment Method Postage for commercial mail can be paid in four ways. Some methods require special equipment and all require you to fill out a postage statement. Authorized Meter providers: $0.00 MONTH DAY YEAR US POSTAGE FIRST-CLASS MAIL CITY STATE ZIP CODE FRANCOTYP-POSTALIA INC. 140 N MITCHELL CT STE 200 ADDISION IL HASLER Inc. 19 FOREST PKY SHELTON CT NEOPOST INC HUNTWOOD AVE HAYWARD CA PITNEY BOWES INC. 1 ELMCROFT RD STAMFORD CT Data-Pac Mailing Systems Corp Bay Rd Webster NY Authorized PC Postage providers:.00 METERED POSTAGE RW0012B PC POSTAGE TECHNOLOGY COMMERCIAL MAILING SERVICES You can use a meter to affix postage to all commercial mail except Periodicals. The meter stamp shows the amount of postage paid. How Do I get a postage meter? You must file an application for a meter license through your meter provider. There is no application fee. A meter is licensed for only one postal location. You must complete Form 3615 and enter your commercial mailings at this location. If you want to enter your mail at more than one location, or if you want to enter your mail closer to its final destination, consult your local Post Office for more information. How Do I Pay for Postage? All postage meters are remotely reset by your meter provider you do not need to go to the Post Office. Your meter provider will give you information about the payment options currently authorized by the Postal Service. PC Postage allows you to print postage from your computer for all discount mail except Periodicals. How Do I Get It? PC Postage software and services are leased from an authorized provider. To find out more and to see a list of authorized providers, visit To use PC Postage technology you must obtain a license. How Do I Apply for a License? PC Postage products prompt you through the application process. There is no application fee. How Do I Pay for Postage? Set up an account and pay for postage through your provider. Endicia.com (PSI SYSTEMS INC.) 247 HIGH ST PALO ALTO CA x140 PITNEY BOWES INC. 1 ELMCROFT RD STAMFORD CT STAMPS.COM CORAL TREE PLACE LOS ANGELES, CA For additional information, see Quick Service Guide 604c at pe.usps.com, or visit com/postagesolutions. 34

39 PRESORTED STANDARD U.S. POSTAGE PAID NEW YORK NY PERMIT NO. 1 USA Presorted Std PERMIT IMPRINT A permit imprint uses a printed or hand-stamped imprint to indicate that postage has been paid for all discount mail except Periodicals. All pieces in your mailing must weigh the same amount unless authorized by the Postal Service. How Do I Apply? You must file an application (Form 3615) for a permit at the Post Office where your mailings will be entered. Bring two forms of identification when you apply. Is There a Cost? You pay a one-time fee ($180) to set up your account. You need a permit account at each postal facility where you enter your mail. Additionally, you must enter at least one mailing with your permit imprint during a 24-month period for the permit to stay active. Otherwise, you will have to pay the account set-up fee again prior to your next mailing. How Do I Pay for Postage? Postage is paid through an advanced deposit account you set up at the Post Office where you enter your mail. Contact the Post Office for information about when and where to make deposits. Annual presort mailing fees must be paid to mail at First-Class Mail, Standard Mail and Media Mail presort prices. PRECANCELED STAMPS Precanceled stamps are available for discount First-Class Mail or Standard Mail. You affix a stamp to each piece of mail you are sending. Precanceled stamps are available from most Post Offices. How Do I Apply? You must file an application (Form 3615) at each Post Office where you will be entering your mail and paying postage. Is There a Cost? There is no application fee. How Do I Pay for Postage? The face value of the stamp may not cover the cost of the postage. Any remaining postage is calculated and paid at the time of mailing. For more information see Quick Service Guide 604b or 604d at pe.usps.com. 35

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